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Female Founder Power: Prioritizing smart money over investors, inner growth & success - Kadi Saadlo, CEO & Co-Founder of HotelBuddy

Updated: Feb 15

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Transitioning from a corporate job to a startup world comes with a price to pay and lessons to learn. This transition might be even more challenging for a female founder entering this world of entrepreneurship dominated by masculine energy and approaches to how things should be. Less emotions, more expectations, and more pressure on yourself as a leader paying your salary and being responsible for a team of people. But should it be that way? Is this approach working also towards inner balance and healthier work-life relationships?

In this episode, Cocoon Program CEO Farhad Niyoz talks with Kadi Saadlo, CEO & Co-Founder of HotelBuddy. Kadi tells her story of moving from Estonia to Latvia, quitting her corporate career to pursue an entrepreneurial path, and chasing smart money instead of every accessible investment. She shares her lessons learned from switching career paths and gives many valuable insights on how to take care of yourself as a founder while all the media is talking about is success stories and startup unicorns. They discuss the importance of realizing that you are not your business and where this misconception might lead entrepreneurs to health problems, relationship struggles, and negative self-talk.

Overview of the topic:

00:01 Moving to Riga for better relationships and change

2:41 Differences between two neighbors Latvians and Estonians

5:26 Kadi Saadlo, CEO & Co-Founder at HotelBuddy

11:46 Prioritizing smart money: customers not investors

14:59 Balancing feminine self with masculine nature of leadership

19.35 Conquering the fear of stage and public speaking

27:51 Misleading culture of startup success stories

32:29 Switching financial mindset: From corporate employee to Co-Founder

39:01 The dark side of founders path and how to take care of yourself

43:30 How and Why to improve positive self-talk

47:29 Dealing with “founders sleep” and how to improve it

54:04 Kadi's key entrepreneurial lessons from the past 12 months

57:14 Describing the perfect investor for HotelBuddy

1:01:35 Advice for female founders

1:03:25 Importance of realising: You are not your company!

Welcome to the Inner Power Particles podcast. Here we talk with entrepreneurs and leaders about their challenges and lessons learned to improve their inner strength. We do this to share their journey and knowledge with you so that you can improve as a leader and a person. Resources: To learn more useful tools for CEOs and C-level managers ➡️


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Farhad Niyoz is the CEO of Cocoon.




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